The Black Lives Matter movement exists to confront anti-black racism, “push for black people’s right to live with dignity and respect,” and fight for inclusion in American democracy. So said Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, on USA Today.
The movement began in 2013 in response to the acquittal of officer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin, and spiraled out of control with the unrest across the country after the shooting death of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri.
The radical behavior of Black Lives Matter results from their sincere belief that systemic, institutionalized racism exists among the ranks of law enforcement. The widely accepted claim is that black individuals, overwhelmingly minors, are frequently murdered in cold blood by police officers, especially white police officers. However, when we consider the real statistics and crunch the actual numbers, the argument at the heart of the movement just doesn’t make sense.
The Washington Post has compiled data on fatal police shootings of civilians; commentators have pointed to pieces of that data as evidence that police are gunning down unarmed blacks out of simple bias. The 2015 data taken as a whole, however, tells a different narrative.
For one thing, according to the Washington Post, nearly twice as many whites as blacks were killed by police officers in 2015. Fully 50% were white, while 26% were black and 17% were Hispanic.
Additionally, of victims of fatal police shootings in 2015, only 0.01% were under age 18.
Also according to the Washington Post’s data, 74% of individuals killed by a police officer in 2015 were actively attacking the officer, so the “unarmed victim” classification does not hold up either.
African Americans are indeed a minority of the U.S. population; however, they are not a minority of those who interact with police. The proper data to look at is not deaths in relation to the total population, but the number of police interactions that end in fatalities. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2009, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties, though they made up roughly 15% of the population in those areas. Despite the disproportionately high number of African Americans involved in crime, whites remain the majority of individuals killed by police.
Deep down, all Americans support BLM’s cause–if it is indeed the cause of liberty and justice for all. But why do they insist that “black lives matter,” when the unifying belief throughout American history is that all lives matter? Black Lives Matter may have a genuinely good intention, but it is based on caricatured, exaggerated, falsely-presented issues of racial hatred that do not align with fact.
A true conviction that all lives matter would cause one to confront identifiable problems of poverty, crime, and harmful drug usage–problems that confront all of humanity, regardless of skin color. As Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his famous speech, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” Black Lives Matter, in demanding so-called equality while claiming to confront anti-black racism that does not exist to the degree they proclaim, continues to propound the faulty doctrine that we are not all equal.
A shorter version of this post was originally published on Red Alert Politics